Amazon SEO: The Complete Guide to Ranking Higher

Amazon optimization actually encompasses much more than simply writing decent listing text. Because the Amazon ranking algorithm takes factors outside your listing text into consideration – such as CTR and conversion rate – successful Amazon SEO also includes optimization of those factors as well as pictures and keyword placement within your listing’s text.

In this complete guide, we’ll show you every step of successful Amazon SEO which covers:

0. Understanding Amazon’s algorithm

1. Thorough keyword research
1.1 Including relevant keywords in your listing text
1.2. Best placement for keywords within your listing
1.3. Optimizing long-tail keywords in your Seller Central search term fields

2. Top Factors Influencing Click Through Rate
2.1. Title & Brand
2.2. Image
2.3. Price Including FBA / Prime
2.4 Bestseller / Amazon’s Choice label

3. Conversion Rate
3.1. Images
3.2. Reviews
3.3. Bullet points

4.Sales

0. The Basics of Amazon SEO: Thinking Like A9

The first step in becoming an Amazon SEO expert is to understand Amazon’s search algorithm, called A9. If you know how they rank products in search results, then you’ll know what to tweak in order to land your product listing at the top. A deep understanding of Amazon ranking is especially important because the online retailing giant is constantly changing – and as a successful seller, you’ve got to stay one step ahead of the competition!

Amazon SEO Is All About Increasing Purchase Likelihood

Amazon search engine optimization is mainly about increasing the purchase likelihood of potential customers. On Amazon, as opposed to Google, there is only one intention: Buying! Users want to buy, sellers want to sell and Amazon wants to score sales commissions.Since the Amazon ranking algorithm is designed to maximize profits, you have to understand A9’s logic and play by the algorithm’s rules if you want your Amazon SEO to be successful and your products appearing at the top of the SERPs. Amazon sorts search results by purchase likelihood, and this happens by considering two groups of factors:

Performance Factors: These represent how popular/successful a product has been so far with customers. The key metrics here are CTR (click-through rate), conversion rate, and of course overall sales.

Relevance Factors: These indicate how well a product matches the search query. Relevance is mainly calculated by keyword usage and positioning.

Relevance of a product is keyword-specific, i.e. it varies for each search term. However, improving performance factors will have a positive impact on a product’s ranking for all keywords for which a product is listed. The specific performance and relevance factors are summarized in the graphic below, and covered in more detail in the rest of this complete Amazon SEO guide.

Amazon SEO Guide to Purchase Likelihood

You should be aware that Amazon’s algorithm works quite differently than Google’s. And now that the consumer buying decision starts with the decision to search on Amazon for a product rather than Google, it’s very important to have a solid understanding of how the Amazon search engine works.

Related Post: 3 Differences (and Five Similarities) Between Optimization For Amazon vs. Google

Given that roughly 97% of people click on search results within the first page (see our sources below for that report), it’s imperative to the success of your business to appear at the top of the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).Think about it: When was the last time you made a purchase from page 8 of the SERPs? Or even page 3? Most shoppers will change their search query if they don’t find what they’re looking for on the first couple pages – which is a phenomenon called ‘long-tail’ keywords that we’ll explain in detail later on.

Keyword Research Is the Core of Amazon Optimization

Products can only be found for a specific search query if the listing contains all of the search keywords. For this reason, a crucial first step of Amazon listing optimization is to do comprehensive keyword research to find out which keywords are relevant to your product.

You can save considerable time and hassle by using an Amazon keyword research tool like Sonar. It’ll research related keywords, make suggestions based upon Amazon shoppers’ search queries, and let you know the actual search volume of keywords on Amazon.

Related Post: 6 Keyword Research Methods for Your Amazon Listings

1.1. Keyword selection

Remember how 97% of people click on search results within the first page? That means shoppers want to find exactly what they’re looking for quickly – which in turn means that they largely tend to be more detailed about what they’re searching for right when they start. These longer searches are called long-tail keywords (even though they’re more like phrases). In fact, 70% of search queries are long-tail.

Long-tail Keywords in Amazon SEO and search queries

Source: NeilPatel.com

What does this mean for your Amazon SEO? You have to be very thorough in your keyword research on the one hand, and on the other hand you have to prioritize placement of your keywords.

1.2. Keyword Location is Considered in Amazon Ranking

Especially if you’ve been thorough with the first Amazon SEO step, then you have a huge list of long-tail keywords that won’t all fit into your listing text. You’ll have to prioritize which keywords will go where, because some keywords are more relevant to your product than others.The general rule of thumb for keyword location in your Amazon listing optimization:

  1. Product title: Immediately relevant keywords and synonyms, including size (e.g. 20”, 500g) if relevant
  2. Bullet points: Long-tail keywords relating to product use, benefits, ingredients or materials
  3. Product description: Long-tail keywords mixed with persuasive reasons for purchase
  4. Backend search terms (in Seller Central): These aren’t visible to the shopper, so include all remaining long-tail keywords

The heatmap picture below perfectly epitomizes the importance of keyword location. Many Amazon shoppers only look at the product picture and title, and Amazon optimization efforts reflect this. That’s why Amazon.com has been changing up the look of their search results page, sometimes appearing in ‘classic’ format as in the picture below and sometimes in ‘mobile’ format which lists more products on each results page, accentuates a larger product image, and includes product title, price and rating – basically omitting the information that buyers don’t look at in the search results.

Heatmap of Amazon Shoppers Eye Tracking Search Results

Source: SEOmaxx.com

Amazon is aware of shopper behavior, and has taken this into account in its algorithm. Keywords featured in the product title have the greatest weight for the ranking, followed in descending order by bullet points, Seller Central keywords, further product specifications and the product description. Thus, if a product’s title contains the search query words, it will have better chances to rank high than if the product featured all the keywords in the description only!Remember that repeating keywords within your listing, as opposed to SEO for Google, doesn’t improve your Amazon ranking!Related post: Will Keyword Repetition Improve Amazon Ranking? [Case Study]

1.3. Optimizing Long-Tail Amazon SEO in Backend Search Terms

It’s time consuming and tedious to come up with a long list of detailed, long-tail keywords. There are some free keyword tools available, but the large majority are geared toward Google search – which, as we’ve mentioned before – is quite different from Amazon SEO. It’s worth it to invest in a powerful, all-in-one Amazon tool that can help you generate keywords for your listing text as well as PPC ads.

Try the Keyword Research Tool from Sellics Now!

Start Free Trial – No Credit Card Necessary

Add keywords directy to the Rank Tracker and your PPC campaigns in the same tool!

Back in 2015, the number of characters in your Seller Central backend search terms was limited to 50. But now, you can enter up to 1,000 characters total in the five search term fields (excluding Platinum Keywords).Although it may feel like you can stuff in all sorts of keywords into your backend search terms, you’ll want to be mindful of relevancy – because given time, you won’t rank well for obscure, irrelevant terms anyways. And given that Amazon is constantly changing, they might just decrease the limit in the future which would leave you hassled with optimizing your backend search terms again.Related Post: Amazon Search Term Optimization: How to Optimize Keywords for Higher Visibility

2. Good Amazon SEO Improves CTR

Although it can be argued that the main product image influences CTR, we’ve saved that for the next section because all product photos have more of an impact in a shopper’s decision to make a purchase once already on the product listing page.Remember: Products are not measured according to one universal CTR ranking on Amazon, but each keyword combination has its own ranking.An example of this would be a backpack; It will have a higher CTR for the keyword “backpack” than for “smartphone”. Likewise, the no. 1-ranked product will usually have a higher CTR than the no. 35-ranked product in the same result list. Therefore, the CTR is always determined specifically for keywords and rankings for those keyword, and only then is it compared. In general, the higher the CTR for a certain keyword implies better rankings of a product.

Stay On Top of Amazon SEO with the Sellics Keyword Ranking Tracker

Sellics can do much more than just help you generate keywords for Amazon SEO – you can also:

  • Track your rankings for as many keywords as you’d like
  • See daily changes in keyword rankings
  • Adjust the date range to analyze a specific time period
  • Make notes in the keyword tracker so you know, for example, when you implemented your new Amazon SEO strategy or went out of stock

Check out the details of Sellics Keyword Ranking Tool here.

2.1. Title & Brand

The product title can also give the shopper important information that can’t be seen immediately in the picture, for example whether a product is made of real or patent leather.

Example of Amazon Product Title Optimization

2.2. Price Including FBA / Prime

The lowest price doesn’t necessarily always win – unless you’re talking about the BuyBox. Most shoppers connect higher price with a connotation of higher quality. That said, it’s always nice to offer free shipping through Prime (by doing Fulfillment By Amazon) or with a coupon code.An extra perk of Prime isn’t just that shipping is free – but fast. With 1-2 day delivery time, and often same-day delivery in large cities near Amazon warehouses, customers prefer products sold via Prime / FBA.This is a prime example (no pun intended) of the fact that Amazon optimization goes well beyond your listing to also encompass other aspects of your business (like speedy shipping and responding to critical customer reviews).

2.3 Bestseller / Amazon’s Choice label

Let’s face it – that little badge generates a lot of trust.

Amazon distinction labels improve CTR

It’s interesting to note that the Amazon Best Seller in the picture on the right doesn’t offer the lowest price – even though the Best Seller and the cheaper product below it both have the same 4.5 star rating and both offer free shipping.

List of factors Influencing CTR

We’ve only covered the main factors above, but here are more that will influence your CTR, and therefore should not be left out of your Amazon SEO efforts.

  • Title
  • Image
  • Brand
  • Price
  • FBA / Prime
  • Availability
  • Rating
  • Bestseller label
  • Delivery cost
  • Product category
  • Feature preview
  • Other buying options

3. Conversion Rate Is an Important Factor of Amazon SEO

Like CTR, Conversion Rate (CR) is also calculated on an individual keyword basis. CR is calculated by dividing the number of shoppers who make a purchase by the number of shoppers who have visited the page. So if 10 different shoppers visit the product listing page and 3 of them make a purchase, the CR is 30%.The higher the CR, the higher the purchase likelihood of a product (for that keyword).If shoppers continually click on a product but then click away without making a purchase, the Amazon ranking algorithm will take that low CR into account and rank the product lower for that keyword in turn. The Amazon search engine wants shoppers to find their desired products quickly – and so will generally rank products with a low CR lower than others.

Unnaturally Boosting CTR is Not an Allowable Method of Amazon Optimization

One grey hat tactic in Amazon SEO is the use of Super URLs: A URL linking to Amazon that already includes the keywords that the seller is optimizing a product listing for. This unnaturally increases CTR because the shopper comes from an external website directly to the landing page of the product he wishes to purchase, rather than coming via Amazon search – which is what the URL is telling Amazon.For more information on Super URLs and why they are prohibited by Amazon, visit our related post: Amazon Super URLs

3.1. Images Are Part of Amazon SEO, too!

Product images are an important deciding factor in a shopper’s decision to click through from the SERPs to the product listing page – but once they are there, images are a huge influencer on the decision to buy – which is the conversion rate.Product images are very important, because customers want to have a sense that they know exactly what they are buying. They want to see the product from all angles, be able to zoom in, and even see the product being used / worn depending on what that product is.

Tips for Amazon SEO best practice with product photos:

  • Have at least a few images with decent resolution (at least 1,000 x 1,000 pixels to enable zoom function)
  • Make sure to have a white background
  • If you private label, make sure that your brand is clearly visible in at least one of your product photos
  • Use some photos to demonstrate benefits or uses

Tip: Use all 9 images of your product to your advantage! Include pictures of the product being used or worn. Depict how easy it is to use your product or how convenient it is to store. And if you can’t depict your product’s benefits in the picture, include some writing on your picture to help the shopper understand.

3.2. Amazon Reviews

After the most recent updates to Amazon’s review policy, product reviews aren’t used for Amazon optimization like they were.Related Post: Amazon\\\\\\\’s Review Policy Cracks Down on Incentivized ReviewsRelated Post: Amazon Retroactively Deletes Incentivized Product Reviews Left Before Policy UpdatesEven if sellers don’t have as much control over who and how product reviews are left, reviews are still a valuable part of Amazon optimization because they can influence conversion rate.Products that have good ratings (generally higher than 4 stars) make it onto the top of the SERPs. But once a shopper clicks through to the product listing page, he or she will often skim through negative reviews before making the decision to purchase. If a handful of customers have left negative reviews saying, for example, that the product falls apart after a few uses, then the shopper will be inclined to click away – thus lowering your conversion rate.Responding to negative reviews is an often overlooked aspect of Amazon SEO. If you respond quickly to customers’ complaints, then you’re able to do a number of things that would reduce the effect of ‘scaring away’ potential customers:

  • Offer a refund for defect / broken products, or send a new one
  • Let the customer know that the product review shouldn’t include feedback from shipping if you’re using FBA
  • Correct the customer for using the product in the wrong way, if that was the case (for example, not following the washing instructions) and add those instructions for use to your product listing text
  • Responding to negative reviews shows the reviewer and others that you care about customer satisfaction

Related Post: 3 Ways To Deal With Negative Reviews On Amazon

Use the Review Management Tool from Sellics to Help Your Amazon Optimization!

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3.3. Bullet points

Earlier, we’ve mentioned how important it is to include the right keywords in the bullet points of your product listing text. This crucial area of your listing is important for Amazon SEO because it succinctly outlines features, benefits and reasons for purchase.Tip: Keep your bullet points between 2-3 lines (not sentences) each. Use HTML and formatting to make them more visually appealing and separate.

4. Sales – Important for Amazon Ranking and Also Optimizable

It’s kind of a no-brainer that Amazon uses sales as a performance indicator: The more frequently a product is purchased, the more popular it seems to be with buyers. Popular products generally have higher purchase likelihood as they will probably be bought by other users in the future. This is why well-selling products rank higher.It’s a kind of self-perpetuating loop: Higher-ranked product sell better, and continued sales keep that product ranking high.But how can a seller get started with a new product? Your Amazon optimization measures in this case might focus more heavily on promotional giveaways, bolstering sales with discounts and running PPC ads on Amazon to gain some initial sales momentum with your new product. Amazon listing optimization alone often isn’t enough for new products.

Optimize Sales By Running Amazon Sponsored Products Ads

Sellics can help you optimize your Sponsored Products ads, too! Help your organic sales improve by boosting overall sales with on-Amazon advertisement. Check out the video below for an inside peek into the Sellics PPC Manager.

Thorough Keyword Research
is the Core of Successful Amazon SEO


If any words in a customer’s search query are not included in your product listing, then your product won’t appear in search results!
Follow the video above to increase your listing’s visibility.

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Advanced Amazon SEO With Seller Central Search Terms

 

Are you already an expert and on the lookout for advanced tips? In this blog post, we have detailed advice on how to optimize the search terms in the backend of your Seller Central account.

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Amazon SEO Is Continuous

After all the information we’ve presented in this Complete Guide to Amazon SEO – the extensive Amazon listing optimization measures as well as thorough keyword research and demanding requirements for product images – it may sound daunting to some beginners when we end by saying “the end is not in sight”.Amazon optimization is a continuous practice, starting with off-Amazon marketing to boost sales and including regular optimization of listing text to include bigger keywords that you can now rank well for, after having built up purchase history and a higher purchase likelihood for your new product.But rest assured – now that you’ve become a master of Amazon SEO, constantly adapting to Amazon’s ever-changing marketplace and staying ahead of the competition will be a breeze.

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Source: More Shoppers Start Buying Decision on Amazon – http://www.cnbc.com/2016/09/27/amazon-is-the-first-place-most-online-shoppers-visit.html
Source: 97% of people click on resutls of first page of search engine results – https://chitika.com/google-positioning-value
Source: Image for Beginner Amazon SEO Guide from Freepik
Source: Image for Amazon SEO purchase likelihood made with PiktoChart

Note: The insights described in this article have been developed based on tests and expert interviews in the field of Amazon search metrics and search engines in general. Despite our great commitment and thoroughness with regard to this topic, these insights should not be considered a final determination of Amazon’s ranking algorithm, but they reflect the current best estimate of the relevant processes. The article is being revised continuously and extended with further knowledge.In general, the approach to Amazon SEO given here in this guide is particularly relevant for sellers of proprietary products, that is, products exclusively sold by one seller.